n.Lawthe quality or authenticity of a record to provide legal or historical proof or adequate evidenceGrover 1955b, 307The archivist must be watchful in protecting the integrity of records in his custody. He must guard them against defacement, alteration, or theft; he must protect them against physical damage by fire or excessive exposure to light, damp, and dryness; and he must take care to see that their evidentiary value is not impaired in the normal course of rehabilitation, arrangement, and use.Silsby 1974, 84But unlike judicial records, which never become fully inactive because of precedent and evidentiary value, and unlike legislative acts which have the character of positive law, administrative records of the executive branch in many states have been subject to value judgments which disregard their fundamental character.Moss 1977, 429As abstraction increases and we get farmer away from the immediate reality, the evidentiary value of the information decreases. The simple thesis that evidence and abstraction are in an inverse relation to one another often is forgotten because it is so elementary; but it is crucial to an understanding of the value of oral history.Nichols and Smith 2001, viArtifactual collections that are paper-based or audiovisual have evidentiary value to the extent that the original manifestation can attest to the originality, faithfulness (or authenticity), fixity, and stability of the content.Stanford and Meyer 2011, 6They would not only organize their records but also reduce their volume in a way that preserved the most essential evidentiary value, without great expense or time on the part of repository staff.Montgomery 2012, 330, fn. 6Archives are defined as noncurrent records of enduring importance that possess historical, legal, administrative, or evidentiary value.the usefulness of records that provides information about the origins, functions, and activities of their creatorsSteinwall 1986, 53While there is undoubtedly a gap between the written word and what archivists actually do, archival literature seems to suggest that records with informational value are secondary to records with evidentiary value. If archivists follow such prescripts, they may ignore important records and possibly incur the wrath of the researching public.Ham 1993, 52Because of the linkages among creator, function, and the record, functional analysis for evidentiary value should be undertaken with a comprehensive knowledge of an institution’s function and programs and the documentation they produce.Sanders 1994“Evidentiary value” is a concept that records managers have inherited from their archives background. It is derived from the realization that the same records often serve different purposes. The primary purposes (or values) of a record are those uses for which it was created. But as a secondary function, records often tell us (or “evidence”) something about the organization that created them. The archival evidentiary value of a record is its ability to evidence the organization’s history and its success in achieving its mission.Adkins 1997, 20, fn. 28“Maybe it's because the CIGNA Archives’ major customers are the corporate legal and secretarial departments, but we consciously document corporate secretarial, marketing, policy, human resources, product and financial functions for their evidentiary as well as for their informational value. And the records are used for both. In fact, the evidentiary value is there because we preserve the records, even if the company never needs to use them.” [Excerpt from an email written by Karen Benedict to the author, June 12, 1997.]Tschan 2002, 194Jenkinson, too, advocated cooperation with current records administrators in helping to identify those records which were of continuing evidentiary value for the creator.Eastwood 2004, 40–41Of course, considerations of posterity, what the future will think, do intrude sometimes when people are making records, but on the whole the authors of records are concentrated on the business at hand. Knowing this, scholars accord them special evidentiary value.Wood et al. 2014, 402In practice, traditionally provenance has been used to refer to a single creator or collector of materials, as well as to the chain-of-custody associated with those materials. In combination with original order, it has two primary goals in this conception: to protect the evidentiary value of the described records and to expose the actions, functions, and deeds from which the records emerge.Hager 2015, 32This guideline asserts that appraisal is actually an important aspect for selecting what to post to an archival institution’s Facebook page. When conducting collection-based outreach, archivists should not focus on content that is informationally dense or indicative of evidentiary value. Rather, archivists should strive to post content that has intrinsic value.
The use of the term evidentiary value2 in the common archival appraisal sense appears to have begun by users unintentionally conflating the term “evidentiary” with “evidential,” but there has now been decades of use of the term in the profession as a synonym of, and almost a variant form of, the term “evidential value” in its original sense in archivy. However, in general practice archivists used “evidentiary value” more frequently while discussing the value of records to support a legal case and to document the past in general—and they use “evidential” more often in the narrow Schellenbergian sense of the value of the records to document the functions and activities of the office creating the records.